Tree-planting project to restore wood pasture at Hardwick and tackle climate change

Tenant farmer Tom Ottewell (second right) and general manager Denise Edwards (far left) with rangers at Hardwick.Tenant farmer Tom Ottewell (second right) and general manager Denise Edwards (far left) with rangers at Hardwick.
Tenant farmer Tom Ottewell (second right) and general manager Denise Edwards (far left) with rangers at Hardwick. | Other 3rd Party
A tree-planting project is to restore 148 hectares of wood pasture at one of Derbyshire’s most popular tourist attractions.

The National Trust has joined forces for the project with tenant farmers at Hardwick Hall in Doe Lea.

It’s all part of the trust’s determination to tackle climate change and to engage more people with nature to mark the organisation’s 125th birthday.

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Ian Hunt, gardens and outdoors manager for Hardwick, said: “It is recognised that the creation of woodland is an important part of the changes to land use needed to mitigate against the nature crisis.

“As well as helping with flood prevention, woodlands provide homes for all sorts of nature and wildlife.

“The new and improved areas of wood pasture will not only help to create a better landscape around Hardwick, but will also make it an even better place for people to come for physical and spiritual refreshment.”

Father-and-son tenant farmers, the Ottewells, who have been farming Hardwick land for four generations over 82 years, will be helping the National Trust.

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They will plant trees and create habitats across stretches of land totalling the size of 111 football pitches.

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Hardwick rangers will work with the farmers to deliver the project over the next two years, during which time the land will be transformed from crop growing to wood pasture. Indeed the landscape will be more like that Bess of Hardwick herself would have seen when she built the hall back in the 16th century

About 1,184 native tree species, including oak, hawthorn, holly and field maple, will be planted, providing a home for a range of wildlife, including buzzards, woodpeckers and red foxes.

The wood pasture will be open to the public for rambles. Research has shown that people who walk through woodland are more likely to have better mental wellbeing and physical health.

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Tenant farmer Tom Ottewell said: “This is an exciting time for our family as this project begins and the first trees are planted.

“We have a great relationship with the National Trust and look forward to working even closer with the team at Hardwick to support the trust’s climate change and biodiversity targets.”